Friday, October 24, 2014

The St. Regis River At Southville State Forest

I wanted to take a short hike to the west branch of the St. Regis River. So I drove to Southville State Forest, only 10 miles from home, pulled into the forest and let the dogs out:

Autumn was in full swing and there were acorns galore underfoot as we walked:

Clover, she who usually runs ahead and has to be yelled at to "Stop!," behaved pretty darn well on this day. We've been out walking more than usual lately, so maybe she's starting to get the idea:

We arrived a the St. Regis River and the Daphne, Seamus and Fergus ran right into the water:

Clover, never a big fan of getting her feet wet, explored the banks while I enjoyed the autumn color:

But that was about all there was to see, so we started making our way back to the car:

As in most of the state forests around here, we passed through several forest types in a relatively short distance:

The dogs played and sniffed at all the interesting smells:

I sat down on a bank to rest, and Daphne came to join me:

And right next to where we sat, I saw this cluster of various lichens, taking note of the Pixie Cup lichens, always one of favorites:

This was a short hike and we soon returned to the car:

But there was one more stop to make. A bridge over the west branch of the St. Regis River was right down the road, and I wanted to take a picture from there. So I drove to the bridge and parked on the shoulder of the road. Our short hike had taken place on the right (east) bank of this river, just beyond the bend:

Thursday, October 23, 2014

North Country Harvest Festival - Part 2

I left the pony ride area and headed for a large barn, an arena for horse shows, to see what else the Harvest Festival had to offer. A new group of tourists had just been loaded on the wagon, ready to take the tour I had just finished:

As I entered the big show barn, a couple of old fashioned farm collies sat peacefully near the door. I thought that they must be exceedingly well socialized for the farm to leave them loose, unattended, with all those visitors and children. And indeed they were well socialized, calm and friendly:

Inside the arena were tables filled with local crafts for sale, games for the kids, a bouncy castle - and this, apparently was the hay maze. It was put together out of a single thickness of hay bales and covered with a blue plastic tarp. Only small children could use it and I saw two girls entering to give it a try:

There were lots of pumpkins, of course, and a booth for painting them. Another booth offered face painting for children:

There was a two stall petting zoo. The first enclosure had rabbits and ducks:

And the second one had a goat, a sheep and a pony:

There was a booth where kids threw eggs at pictures of monsters. I thought this was a marvelous idea and lots of fun for the kids. I was glad I didn't have to do the clean up, though:

It was a lovely autumn day and I slowly walked back toward the entrance:

I passed another wagon load of visitors as I walked back toward my parked car:

As I headed for my car, I passed a family whose kids had clearly been to the face painting booth and one of the calm, friendly farm collies. It had been a brief but enjoyable autumn excursion and given me the opportunity to learn more about my new home territory:

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

North Country Harvest Festival - Part 1

A very large horse farm, Honey Dew Acres in Crary Mills, New York, advertised a Harvest Festival on a recent weekend and of course I went to take a look. I parked in a hay field and walked toward the horse barns, paddocks and crowds of visitors:

There were large numbers of blanketed horses in many paddocks. Those people in the background were waiting for pony rides or watching the children already riding:

One of the horse barns, formerly a dairy barn:

A tractor pulling a wagon filled with tourists was parked on the main lane. When the driver asked if anyone else wanted on for this trip, I said I did and climbed aboard:

We sat on rough benches as the wagon bounced and lurched. The people were friendly and convivial, with quite a  number of youngsters. I was once again with the St. Lawrence County Maple Princess who, according her extra sash, was also the New York State Maple Princess:

We traveled around the barns and paddocks, and then headed into the woods, which apparently was also a sugar bush:

The sugar house was a classic structure and appeared to still be used:

Then we traveled back through the farm where friendly horses looked at us with inquisitive faces and sometimes followed us:

After the wagon ride, I stopped to watch the children being given pony rides:

I'd guess there were six to eight ponies, each with a young lady leading it and even younger children taking rides. But I still hadn't seen the hay maze or anything else, and it was time for me to go look for them. But I'll post about that in Part 2, tomorrow: